Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu publicly stated on Wednesday that he ordered Housing Ministry Uri Ariel to retract his plans for development of the controversial E-1 area of Maaleh Adumim because of expected reaction of the international community at the same time he is campaigning against letting up the pressure on the Islamic Republic.
He said Ariel’s decision to advance the project by hiring an architect was “an unnecessary confrontation with the international community at a time when we are making an effort to persuade elements in the international community to reach a better deal with Iran.”
Ariel, a member of the government coalition partner Jewish Home party, has not commented and is licking his wounds. Prime Minister Netanyahu took a deep breath and two weeks ago when he tolerated Ariel’s leading an unsuccessful battle against freeing more Palestinian Authority terrorists in order to continue the struggling discussion between the Palestinian Authority and Israel.
Stopping a “bad deal” with Iran is paramount in Netanyahu’s policy, and he immediately snuffed out Ariel’s once he heard about them. Ariel’s plans for homes in the E-1 area, although it is part of the city of Maaleh Adumim, set off alarm bells in Washington and Ramallah and triggered a short crisis that Netanyahu quickly defused at the cost of building an image of following orders from the Obama administration.
“At this time, the attention of the international community must not be diverted from the main effort – preventing Iran from receiving an agreement that will allow it to continue its military nuclear program.,” Netanyahu told the Knesset.